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Aziza Brahim / Sahara

We are in for a meeting with an outstanding artist whose work meets with international recognition, both thanks to her artistic values and the message it carries. Her captivating Sahara blues is enriched with a variety of inspirations, and the lyrics call for the voices of the weakest to be heard.

Aziza Brahim’s work, performed with deep passion and great class, brilliantly overcomes the space between her western Saharan roots and Barcelona, the European metropolis where she currently lives. Aziza is both a contemporary musical poet and an eloquent spokeswoman for the Sahrawi people and their constant struggle for recognition and justice.

Born and raised in a Saharawi refugee camp on the border between Algeria and Western Sahara, Aziza has experienced both great problems and successes in her life. Fleeing as a teenager from the camp, the regime and political oppression that followed Morocco’s invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Aziza left for Cuba to study music. There, she experienced the deep Cuban economic crisis in the 1990s, and her request for a university degree in music was rejected. Returning to the Sahara, she began to sing and play in music bands. She continued this passion after moving to Spain in 2000. There she founded the band Gulili Mankoo, with whom she released two highly regarded records: the EP Mi Canto (2008) and Mabruk (2012). Already at that time, the artist had performed on the most important, prestigious stages and festivals, including Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

In 2014, Aziza Brahim released her first solo album, Soutak, recorded for the famous Glitterbeat record label. It was produced by Chris Eckman (known from Walkabouts and Dirtmusic, a collaborator of Tamikrest). The album contained captivating songs with great melodies, brilliantly sung and carrying an important social message – lyrics calling for the problem of refugees to be noticed and their voices to be heard. Her next album, Abbar el Hamada, released by the artist in 2016, strengthened her exceptional impressions. “Hamada” is the word the Saharawi use to describe the unfriendly landscape that stretches along the rocky Algerian desert. The album has gained international recognition. Aziza Brahim is planning to release a new album in 2019.

The concert took place in 2019.

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